I will give up Qld for national job: Mal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I will give up Qld for national job: Mal

By Laine Clark & Ian McCullough 08/12/2008 10:06:40 PM Comments (0)

Mal Meninga has indicated he will relinquish his beloved Queensland Origin job if asked to coach the Kangaroos.

Momentum for Meninga to take up the Kangaroos reins grew on Monday after Australian Rugby League chairman Colin Love hinted the national role may have outgrown an NRL mentor.

Following two weeks of intense scrutiny over his post-World Cup dummy spit, Ricky Stuart on Monday stood down as Kangaroos coach.

Meninga has led the Maroons to three straight Origin series wins - but on Monday conceded he would give it all away if the ARL came knocking.

"If the opportunity comes, it is a coveted position, you've certainly got to give it some serious consideration," he told Nine Network.

"I am a passionate Queenslander. It would be a very difficult position (holding both state and national reins) - I don't think I could do both."

Love on Monday acknowledged the stress that came with the Australian job and hinted the ARL may look at replacing Stuart with a non-NRL coach.

"It is something that we will have to look into and the board will discuss it," he said.

"However, we have had plenty of success with club coaches and had it not been for this incident we wouldn't be talking about it now."

A market released by a bookmaker on Monday had Meninga at $1.80 ahead of Melbourne and NSW Origin coach Craig Bellamy ($3), Manly's NRL premiership winner Des Hasler ($7) and new Dragons mentor Wayne Bennett ($10).

Phil Gould ($15), North Queensland's Neil Henry ($21), the Gold Coast's incumbent Australian assistant coach John Cartwright ($21) and Wests Tigers veteran Tim Sheens ($26) also featured.

Manly chief executive Grant Mayer said the obvious pressure on Stuart did not put the Sea Eagles off from letting Hasler take up the Australian job, if he was interested.

But Mayer agreed that the time had come for the ARL to question whether an NRL coach should be considered for the Kangaroos post.

"The question the ARL has to ask themselves is do they want a club coach or do they feel the job has outgrown the role of a club coach because it is so intense," he told AAP.

"But on behalf of the club I would say if he (Hasler) could balance both jobs he would certainly go with our blessing."

Melbourne chief executive Brian Waldron all but dismissed Bellamy putting his hand up after the Storm coach had made it abundantly clear how tough it had been juggling NRL and Origin duties in 2008.

"We have never stopped our people from being involved in rep footy," Waldron said.

"But he has already spoken about the rigours of coaching two teams, how demanding it is - but who knows?"

The Cowboys are yet to make a decision on whether their new coach Neil Henry should continue as Meninga's Maroons assistant, let alone consider making him available for Kangaroos duty.

But Cowboys boss Peter Parr said at first glance the Kangaroos' 2009 program looked more appealing than Origin duty for an NRL club considering releasing their coach.

The Kangaroos play a one off Test at Brisbane in May before tackling a four nations tournament at the end of the season.

The only contender to rule himself out was Stuart's Australian assistant Cartwright.

"To be honest I really don't think I have proven myself at the level I am at to warrant that sort of job," he said.

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